France, Social Portrait2015 Edition

France, Social Portrait is for everyone who would like to learn more about French society. This cross-cutting publication in the “Insee Références” collection gives a broad overview of the social situation in France.

Insee Références
Paru le : 04/11/2015
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Sharing of income and decision-making power in couples: a European overview

Sophie Ponthieux

In all the European Union countries, the majority of working-age couples say their income is fully shared. However, the differences are considerable with regard to the size of this majority: at the lowest end in Finland, 53% of couples pool their total income, compared to around 90% at the other end of the scale, in Spain, Portugal and Poland. In between, this proportion is between 70% and 75% in most countries; it is lower, at 63%, in France. Regardless of the country, the pooling of total income is more common among married couples and when only one of the partners has a job; it is less common in relationships where the partners have a high level of education and relationships where the standard of living is at the top end of the distribution. Whether income is totally pooled or at least partially managed separately, the majority of men and women consider that the “important” decisions in their relationship are taken equally, i.e. that decision-making power is shared, and that they are always free in their personal spending choices. For decisions relating to household spending, balance also predominates, except for everyday purchases which are considered to be more the responsibility of women “in nearly half of countries”; and to a lesser extent, this is also the case for major spending on children. For these spending decisions and for important decisions in general, there are few differences between couples who pool all income and those who at least partially separate their income. This does not hold true when it comes to deciding on personal expenditure: except in Luxembourg, the proportions of men and women who say they are still free to make decisions are higher when income is at least partially separated.

Insee Références
Paru le : 04/11/2015